Sex and the City, July-August 2011 | Unity and Struggle: Michelle Rodriguez and Natalia Guslistaya

Once upon a lime Pushkin wrole “sometimes people are getting strangely close”, and he was right. The famous American actress of Latin American origin, Michelle Rodriguez, and not yet so famous American actress of Russian origin, Natalia Guslistaya have got strangely close in a night club of Cannes. Guslistaya was relaxing. Rodriguez was standing at the D.J console, grooving her best. Having worked out her set, she got rid of her shoes and went to the dance-floor. She amazed me with that, confesses Guslistaya, the megastar of the Fast & Furious and Avatar cuts a rug barefooted?! I would never take my shoes off.

We continue to recall the classic: “Poem and prose, ice and fire are not so different” (Pushkin)… Rodriguez, emigrants’ child, was growing rather in poverty. Guslistaya, the granddaughter of her grandfather, a Gazprom’s employee —rather in luxury. Rodriguez gets along with four pairs of shoes, three T-shirts, two pairs of jeans and wears the make up only at the film set. Guslistaya has got a collection of 40(3 pairs of shoes, she wears heels from the early morning even in Los Angeles and does not leave the house without make-up. Guslislaya’s biography is like a fairy tale: at 12 she is the favorite pupil of Sophia Golovkina in Moscow Choreographic School, at 14 she is a student of Royal Ballet School in London, and all girl’s pleasures, all these little bags, rings and bracelets were at her feet. And she neither drinks nor smokes. Rodriguez biography is nothing but art house movie: lovers-men and women, scandals, drugs, when a child, she was expelled from all schools, where she was studying in. Girls quickly found out that they need each other as white needs black, The Prince needs The Pauper, Bonnie needs Clyde. When Natalia Guslistaya invited Michelle Rodriguez to come to Moscow and to take part in the charity gala reception “World Stars for Russian Children”, this Hollywood madcap did not stop to think. As an ambassador of Peacemaker – the international charity alliance, she has sprightly sold out the Avatar property at an auction, at night she played a set in Rye night club, next morning her picture was taken for S&C.

In the course of shooting and talks it emerged that not everything was so simple. As usual, the Prince and the Pauper has got much more in common than the director wants to show in the first frame.

Both girls are perfectly biting the bullet. For both of them “yes” means “yes” and “no” means just “no”. Both think it impossible to have such relations as “sexual business partner” — love or nothing.

Plat outside the stage is not possible for any of them. “People think, that Michelle is strong and fiesty, -says Natalia, while her friend is being prepared for shooting. But I know, that in fact she is very vulnerable. People thinks the same about me. And me to… well, I am not so strong as it seems. We both do not want to use anybody and do not want somebody to use us. She wears old jeans and flips, I wear low cut dresses and make up, but all this stuff is just an armor, in order nobody worms in the soul. It is amazing, we have found each other behind these redoubts.” The other common feature of Michelle Rodriguez and Natalia Guslistaya is their unwilling to rest on their laurels. Michelle does not want to remain an actress all life long. Even a high paid one. Michelle writes a scenario.

This is the story about rock n roll and dependencies, – tells Michelle. – Everything will take place in New York, because I grew up there.

What dependencies?

Any. In fact we all depend on something. Somebody depends on marijuana, somebody – on sex, third ones are on energizers, which are just legal drugs, which the doctor prescribes you. In New York everybody strongly depend on their shrinks. Everybody visits them, swallow these pills, without which they cannot enjoy their lifes. I do not see any difference between all these dependencies.

Don’t you see the difference between marijuana and tranquilizers?

Nope. Any dependence means that someone is sick and tired of this life. Actually, I am writing about it.

Natalia Guslistaya neither wants to remain an actress all her life long. Even if she would be high paid. She is going to become a producer and to produce a film, which will be shot by Michelle’s scenario. She is going to open a classic Russian ballet school in Los-Angeles and an American hip hop school in Moscow. She is going to cast back the perception, that in America a Russian girl can be successful only as э beautiful wife.

Michelle and Natalia usually manage to do what they want. For example, that’s how Michelle has goher first role in Girl’s Flight.

I play a boxer there, though I have never been boxing in my life. I read in the ad, that a young Latin American actress was wanted. I went to casting on roller skates. I still cannot explain myself what for.- Michelle laughs while remembering this story. (Actually, that’s funny: roller skate are not a bike, you cannot park it at the entrance, you have to walk on them in studio lobbies). – Maybe, to have more reasons to say: “It figures that they won’t take me, who needs an actress on roller skates?”

And how did it come that they took you?

Well, probably, they needed an absolutely freaky girl. I remember them asking me: “Why do you think that this role is for you? You have not got any experience…” And I said all of a sudden: “Because I can punch anybody’s face right now!”

Right after that Michelle was approved. And she was freaking and dictating terms – she refused flatly to skin her head. They cooperated with her and cornrowed her. Michelle was fighting in such a way, that Mike Tyson would not risk to fight with her. It is still a question, who would bite whom.

When this film released, we still did not know each other, – says Natalia Guslistaya now. I watched it and thought at once this Rodriguez is either very shy or a devil in skirt. It turned out to be both.

Guslistaya should not be ashamed of her deeds as well. She came to Hollywood and understood: no money, neither dad or mom means here – you must know people, whom you must to know. She did know somebody – for example, Alain Delon was a friend of her family. But what does mean one French Alain Delon in the scale of American star factory?… Natalia Guslistaya started to decorate her orbit with stars. She learned to position and to promote herself, she joined the famous Actors Studio, where Al Pachino was teaching. She decided she should meet Mickey Rourke.

He came to New York from Los Angeles to make a presentation for film makers’ guild members. I am not a member of this guild, but I dressed as it should be, I made the expression as it should be and I went there. At one control I said that I had to go to the bathroom urgently, at the second one nobody asked me anything. I entered the hall, when the presentation was already in progress. 2 000 film makers are sitting, Mickey Rourke is on the stage, and me, the only young girl on heels – in the passage. And all outside seats were occupied. I am walking around and looking for the seat, Mickey Rourke is silent… I tell him: “Carry on!” He says; “I cannot – everybody look on you, not on me!” I say: “OK, I will sit on the floor”. And so I did. And then he says: “Oh no, you better go to the stage!” – and points a chair near himself…

After they have met several times for a coffee to chat about life.

Why was he meeting me? Because I was not asking him like everybody: “What about drugs? What about your money, lost everything, eh? What about your face, can’t you find a good cosmetic surgeon?” All that is not interesting for me. Actually, I am interested in his work method. And we were sitting for hours, and he was telling me for hours, how you should read a scenario… and how you should NOT take drugs.

Sometimes people are getting strangely close. Unexpected luck happens as well. But most often it happens with girls, which can come to the casting on roller skates and to sit on the floor before two thousand Hollywood film makers. And in this context Michelle’s rolling skates are less astonishing than Natalia’s sitting on the floor. After all, is this Gazprom granddaughters are taught to?

Forget about Gazprom, – says Natalia Guslistaya. – I was 13, when parents divorced. I was very uptight. Mother took my brother and me to England. It sounds beautiful – “studied in Royal Ballet School”, actually, 1 was weeping all days long. I was not seeing my mom, I was not seeing my brother, they were living in Cambridge, I was the only Russian in this school, with not free English and strange manners – I will tell dad everything!” But dad was far away, and there are plenty of successful people in London, and nobody cares who is your dad and how much money has he got. I was not accepted, I was treated ill and I had to lean to behave in such a way in order a band of small English wolf pups with their ideal pronunciation and manners to recognize me. Believe me, to sit on the floor at the conference of the guild of film makers was a mere trifle.

What if your parents did not divorce? What if you continue a comfort life in Moscow?

I would be another person. And, maybe, the first thing I would pay attention to, is that if your bag match your shoes. Or nowadays they should differ, as people say? All Russian girls, who have grown up in the same environment, pay attention to it. Then I would scan the make of your car, the color of your credit card and your family status. And, by no means, I would not befriend a daughter of some Spanish emigrants, l would befriend with a Hollywood star, Michelle Rodriguez, but in this case Michelle Rodriguez would not befriend me. You say, sometimes people are getting strangely close?.. Yes, but if you look closer, there is nothing strange about it.